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John Hench

An employee of the Walt Disney Company for more than sixty years, John Hench earned the moniker of lifer within the organization.

Starting in 1939 as a story artist[?], he weaved his way through the animation department[?] doing everything including backgrounds[?], layout[?] and art direction[?], even effects animation[?] and special effects[?]. Walt Disney respected John as one of the studio's most gifted artists, he teamed Hench up with Salvador Dali on the never completed film Destino[?].

By 1954, Hench was in the studio's live action department[?], as lead developer of the hydraulic giant squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, helping to win an Academy Award for Best Special Effects for the film.

After working on that live action project, he moved to WED Enterprises[?] (now Walt Disney Imagineering[?]), to design attractions for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort Paris and Tokyo Disneyland[?].

One of John's most recognizable works, however, is the well known Olympic Torch[?]. Nearly all of the most recent versions have been modeled after his design for the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, California.

In addition to all of these lengthy achievements, John also was the "official portrait artist" to the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse.

Now retired, he won the prestigious Disney Legend[?] award, presented to him by Michael Eisner.

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